Rwanda denies deal with Israel to receive asylum seekers

On 6 January 2018 at 08:36

State Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community Affairs, Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe has said that Rwanda has no plans to receive African asylum seekers from Israel as neither agreements nor talks both countries have ever had.

According to Reuters, Israel said on Wednesday it would pay thousands of African migrants living illegally in the country to go home or to “third countries” and threatened them with jail if they are caught after the end of March.

Rights groups including Hotline for Refugees and Migrants have said Uganda and Rwanda had agreed to take in migrants from Israel in the past.

However, both Rwanda and Uganda rejected the deal saying that it is fake news.

Speaking to IGIHE on Saturday, Nduhungirehe said that Rwanda has no agreement with Israel to receive any asylum seeker.

He said that the two governments did not sign the deal but speculations were developed by media which said the news was confirmed by Israel’s politicians.

“No agreements have been there, they base on 2014 talks which were not validated. We have not signed any agreements,” he said.

He said that no talks between Rwanda and Israel that are taking place but affirmed that ongoing talks are those to receive migrants from Libya.

According to Reuters, Uganda’s Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem also rejected the news.

“There is no written agreement or any form of agreement between the government of Uganda and Israeli government to accept refugees from Israel,” Oryem said.

“Any suggestion to the contrary was “fake news ... absolute rubbish,” he added.

The majority of migrants in Israel came from Eritrea and Sudan and many say they fled war and persecution as well as economic hardship but Israel treats them as economic migrants.